Nick Saban prefers a tough schedule with hefty competition both inside and outside the SEC.
During Saban's appearance on The Herd, Colin Cowherd asked how he feels about recent conference realignment's impacting Alabama's schedule. The radio host surmised that extra challenges from Oklahoma and Texas would make him less inclined to pursue a difficult out-of-conference opponent in September.
However, Saban took a different perspective. He wants games that will excite college football fans.
"I’ve always been an advocate of Power 5 schools playing Playing 5 schools,” Saban said. “I know there’s some people, especially in Division II and 1-AA, that disagree with that because we do a lot to help fund their opportunities that they give to their players on their team. So I get that part of it. But I also think that we need to be really concerned about fan interest, and the more good games that we play, the more fan interest there is."
He added that he enjoyed the 2020 schedule consisting entirely of SEC matchups because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Saban could inch closer to that reality in a few years. According to ESPN's Chris Low, SEC coaches and athletic directors would prefer to play nine conference games when the Sooners and Longhorns join in 2025.
Before diving into the shark-infested SEC waters, the Crimson Tide will begin the 2022 season against Utah State. The Mountain West Conference school went 11-3 last season, including an LA Bowl victory over Oregon State.
Two weeks later, they'll host an LA-Monroe program that's had one winning season since its 1994 revival.